Learning to scuba dive unlocks new destinations, magical experiences, and friends for life. It provides uninterrupted, unfiltered time to switch off from everyday troubles. You’ll also be surprised just how many weird and wonderful things scuba divers can do, such as:
- epic rescue missions
- underwater modeling
- removing old fishing gear
- playing underwater ice hockey
- underwater treasure hunting
1. Search for (and recover) lost things
Every day, people lose things in the ocean or inland waterways, but if they (or someone they know) can scuba dive, there’s hope. Using search and recovery skills, divers have reunited keys, phones, sunglasses, cameras, and even wedding rings with their owners. For a real challenge, there’s still 2,000Ib (900kg) of missing cheese in Quebec!
Police divers and underwater criminal investigators also rely on scuba training to find, retrieve, and examine bodies, weapons, and other underwater evidence. Divers can free snagged anchors, salvage sunken wrecks, and even bring up long-lost timber!
Finally, how about collecting golf balls? With over 300 million lost annually in the US alone, it can be pretty rewarding (while recycling them is good for the planet). Just be warned: with cold water, low visibility, and (in some places) leeches, snakes, or alligators, it’s not for the faint-hearted!
2. Go on rescue missions and keep people safe
In 2018, two British cave divers became world famous following the rescue of twelve Thai boys and their football coach. The event undoubtedly became one of history’s greatest rescues and would have been impossible without scuba divers.
Being scuba certified means you’ll have underwater skills that, one day, you might use to save a life. With additional training, such as the PADI Rescue Diver or PADI Public Safety Diver courses, you could support major rescue operations or provide safety cover for:
- Boat races or triathlons
- Freediving competitions
- Helicopter underwater escape training (HUET)
- NASA astronaut training
- Underwater filming or stunts
What’s more, it’s not just humans that need saving; there are countless stories of divers rescuing marine life from injury and entanglement.
3. Inspect, clean, and repair
There’s an astounding amount of things scuba divers can do when it comes to underwater maintenance jobs, from finding leaks in a neighbor’s pool to heavy-duty commercial work. Divers repair aqueducts, water parks, bridges, and even weld underwater pipelines on oil rigs. A rise in sustainable seafood also means more fish farms, which need divers to repair enclosures and check fish.
Boats and yachts need upkeep, too — like changing propellors or cleaning barnacles from the hull. Owners often enlist scuba divers to avoid the cost and hassle of taking their boat out of the water.
Then there’s contamination diving. From sewers (yes, it’s as bad as it sounds) to toxic spills and nuclear reactors, these underwater hazmat settings still need essential maintenance. It means unpleasant conditions (and vaccinations), but you’d certainly be a one-off among your friends.
4. Take part in research and conservation
You might already know about popular citizen science projects, such as CoralWatch and Dive Against Debris. Still, there are many more ways to make scuba diving purposeful through science and research. Some other things scuba divers can do include:
- Studying sinkholes
- Being an underwater veterinarian
- Combining art and science, like Australia’s Coral Greenhouse
- Searching for seahorses
- Testing scuba gear for manufacturers or magazines
5. Hunt for treasure
6. Re-create life on land
Social media can make us feel like we need to do more. If you want to impress your friends while still getting a healthy dose of unfiltered, switched-off life, then grab your scuba gear and swap topside activities for underwater equivalents like these:
- Send a waterproof postcard: there are postboxes in Vanuatu, Japan, Norway, and Malaysia
- Get your hair cut: one hairdresser managed 33 customers in a record-breaking fundraiser
- Celebrate the holidays: hunt Easter eggs, carve pumpkins, or dress up like Santa
- Iron your clothes: the Extreme Ironing Championships are really a thing!
- Get married: the largest underwater wedding was in 2011, with 303 guests
- Pay your respects: Florida’s underwater memorial park also supports the local reef
Or, how about a hotel break where you’ll need to scuba dive to your room? At Jules Verne Undersea Lodge, you can even order an underwater pizza delivery!
7. Remove things from the ocean (that don’t belong there)
While Dive Against Debris has already removed over 2 million items of underwater trash, up to 1 million tons of fishing gear are lost in the ocean every year. Thankfully, charities like Global Ghost Gear Initiative and Ghost Diving work with volunteer divers trained to remove ghost gear safely. Recent success stories include Greece, California, and the UK.
Something else that shouldn’t be in the ocean is explosives. With our rich maritime and wartime history, it’s no surprise that bombs and mines are discovered from time to time. It calls for trained clearance divers to remove the threat. So, if you want to combine a military career with hair-raising scuba diving missions, this one’s for you!
8. Experience unfiltered arts and culture
Arts, culture, and creativity can boost our mental health, but spending too much time on cellphones and social media during live events can ruin the experience. Instead, why not learn how to dive, swap your tech for tanks, and Live Unfiltered with a fully immersive, screen-free experience. Three things scuba divers can do are:
- Visit an underwater museum: from the archeological ruins of Baiae, to Jordan’s military exhibits or Grenada’s giant sculpture park.
- Attend an underwater jamboree: join other divers in fancy dress during July for Florida’s Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival.
- Express your creativity: through underwater dancing, modeling, mermaiding, or photography. You could even try to break the record for the largest underwater painting!
9. Play your favorite sports and games
Scuba diving is fun on its own, but there’s certainly no harm in adding a few extra underwater sports and diving games. Indeed, buoyancy courses often use simple obstacles like hoops. In the UK, you’ll find the world’s first underwater escape room with themes including a murder mystery and princess rescue. Meanwhile, escaping the undead with Zombie Apocalypse Diver is a no-brainer for kids at Halloween!
For more serious competitors, plenty of land-based team games also work well underwater — rugby and hockey included. In colder climates, there’s even underwater ice hockey! Put your navigation skills to the test with underwater orienteering, take a ride with a scooter, or pause and relax with diving yoga.
10. Raise money for charity
You don’t need to scuba dive to raise money for charity — unless you want to attempt one of these wackier fundraising challenges:
- Break an underwater world record: make the longest human chain, dive in the most countries, solve the most Rubik’s cubes, or join the world’s biggest underwater cleanup.
- Race other divers: every July, there’s an underwater bicycle race in North Carolina, USA. (Almost) anything goes, and it raises funds for children’s cancer research.
11. Get up close to huge marine creatures
On land, we are surrounded by animals – most of which are smaller than we are. Think about insects, birds, and domestic pets (cats, dogs, hamsters etc). We rarely encounter creatures larger than humans unless we are visiting a zoo or safari park. When you go diving though, you’ll have the chance to see multiple species that, literally, outweigh you – and they are not behind bars! Here are a few examples:
- Whale sharks (up to 12 meters long)
- Manta rays (up to 7 meters across)
- Mola mola (up to 5 meters across)
- Green sea turtles (can weigh up to 160kg)
12. Visit a volcano and underwater hotsprings
Although climbing a volcano or visiting hot springs may sound very much land-based, in certain parts of the world these are underwater activities. Indonesia, known for its volcanic activity, is home to several dive-able underwater volcanoes, such as the one located close to Mahengetang Island in North Sulawesi. Divers can see the volcanic ‘activity’ as bubbles erupt (stream) out of the rock.
Also in North Sulawesi, close to Bangka Island, there are several dive sites that have underwater hot springs. Water is heated up by geothermal activity within the earth’s crust and this water is pushed out through a hydrothermal vent. The vent is basically a fissure on the planet’s surface. Because the geothermally heated water is significantly warmer than the surrounding seawater, it creates a visible thermocline!
13. Take up gardening
If you haven’t been involved in ocean gardening yet, it’s time to start! Ocean gardeners work underwater to attach fragments of corals to metal frames where they begin to grow. During the growing period, the corals need to be maintained and kept clean from any algae growth. Once they have grown to the desired size, they are removed from the frames and ‘transplanted’ onto areas of reef that have been damaged by storms, boats, anchors or fishing nets. Before the corals are transplanted, small fragments are clipped from them to be attached to the original frames – the next harvest!
Things scuba divers can do — training and safety
While many of these activities can be enjoyed by any diver level, some need further training – such as rescue, technical, professional, or commercial diving certifications. Some diving jobs sound easy (like cleaning a boat or recovering a lost item), but they might need specialist equipment, training, licenses, or insurance. Before undertaking any new scuba activity, always check you have the appropriate training and safety precautions in place.
Discover things scuba divers can do and #LiveUnfiltered
Surprised about the number of things scuba divers can do? Why not try some of them and discover the unusual ways to find fun, purpose, accomplishment, and to Live Unfiltered through scuba diving.
Sign up for the PADI Open Water Diver course and learn to dive in three easy steps. You can even get started online right now with our eLearning course. You’ll be ready to explore all the things to do while scuba diving in no time!